Islamic fintech makes inroads into Europe

Added 7th August 2017

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has announced two new partnerships with non-profit associations in London and Zurich aimed at strengthening its position as a global fintech hub for the Middle East.

Islamic fintech makes inroads into Europe

The UAE capital’s international financial centre has formed alliances with the Swiss Finance + Technology Association (SFTA), a trade body representing various players within the Swiss fintech ecosystem, and think tank Responsible Finance and Investment Foundation (RFI).

Swiss ties

The collaboration between ADGM and the SFTA will connect Swiss and UAE fintech participants to business opportunities, experience and investments in each other’s region, accelerate the exchange of fintech expertise, and anchor fintech activities in ADGM, Abu Dhabi, and Switzerland, ADGM said in a note.

“With Switzerland as one of the world's leading blockchain and crypto-currency centres, this new fintech bridge and partnership dovetail well with Abu Dhabi's focus as a global fintech hub,” said Richard Teng, chief executive of ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

“This relationship illustrates our continued interest to develop a neutral global network of leading fintech hubs so that each can develop their competitive advantages while the global ecosystem expands,” said John Hucker, president of SFTA.

Ethical Islamic fintech

ADGM also announced it has set up a partnership with London-based non-profit organisation RFI, for the purpose of integrating ethical and socially responsible practices into Sharia-compliant fintech services and Islamic finance activities.

The partnership establishes an open platform for both RFI and ADGM to share expertise and knowledge and to create joint efforts “which will enhance and strengthen the fintech ecosystem that ADGM initiated for the Mena region in March 2016”.

ADGM and RFI will also work closely to enable and assist investors, fintech entrepreneurs and innovative firms in testing and introducing innovative products, services and solutions “within a well-structured and conducive environment” under the ADGM Reglab programme.

“Fintech has a major opportunity to transform how Islamic financial institutions connect with their customers and promote a unique and differentiated approach to financial services,” said Blake Goud, chief executive of RFI.

“We are optimistic that this partnership with ADGM, building on the regulatory environment they have created in Abu Dhabi, can encourage and support emerging fintech companies to adopt ethical, responsible and Islamic approaches.

"We look forward to working with ADGM to expand responsible fintech in a way that encourages more equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth,” Goud said. 

Global fintech push

Abu Dhabi’s international financial centre is pushing forward with its plans of establishing a global fintech hub in the UAE capital by way of deals and partnerships in all four corners of the globe.

It has recently signed agreements with authorities and regulators including Australia, Malaysia, Kenya and with the authority of Qianhai Shenzhen in Hong Kong.

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Eugenio Montesano
Eugenio Montesano

Senior Reporter

Eugenio joined International Adviser in July 2017 from Citywire, where he was editor of the Italian publications for over three years, covering the retail segment of the country’s asset management industry. Prior to that, he was an assistant producer at APTN, the Associated Press Television News, where he covered Italian politics and international news. Eugenio has a masters degree in International Journalism from City, University of London.


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